PHOENIX SUNS

Blazers’ Lillard tried getting in Suns C Deandre Ayton’s head for key free throws

Oct 22, 2022, 10:35 AM
Damian Lillard #0 of the Portland Trail Blazers shoots while defended by Deandre Ayton #22 of the P...
Damian Lillard #0 of the Portland Trail Blazers shoots while defended by Deandre Ayton #22 of the Phoenix Suns during the first half at Moda Center on December 14, 2021 in Portland, Oregon. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton earned a trip to the free-throw line down 113-111 with 1.2 seconds left on the road in overtime against the Portland Trail Blazers Friday night.

After a timeout, Blazers guard Damian Lillard was seen on the TV broadcast saying something to Ayton, with the big man looking ahead and not acknowledging the veteran.

Lillard told reporters postgame his strategy to get in Ayton’s head, and he got his desired result as the Suns’ center missed the critical first free throw.

“I only asked him, ‘Have you ever been in this situation before?'” Lillard said. “It’s not easy when you have to make the free throws, it’s not an easy situation to be in. The whole game doesn’t come down to one possession … but you’re looking at it like, ‘This is a chance to tie the game.’

“… I just wanted him to think about it a little bit. … He ignored me, and when he ignored me I was pretty sure he was thinking about it, these big free throws.”

Ayton had to miss the second free throw intentionally based on the time, which he executed perfectly. The ball bounced right to Suns backup big man Jock Landale, who missed the put back at the horn. Phoenix fell to 1-1 while Portland improved to 2-0.

The Suns were outdone at the stripe Friday night, hitting 15 of 21 attempts while the Blazers shot 31-for-36.

Ayton had an otherwise impactful game with 26 points and six rebounds.

Penguin Air

Phoenix Suns

New Orleans Pelicans guard Jose Alvarado (15) drives past Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul (3) during ...
Kellan Olson

Phoenix Suns attempt to reset against Pelicans, new team at top of West

The Phoenix Suns are coming off their two worst losses of the season and will have to rebound against a team playing excellent basketball.
1 day ago
Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul draws the offensive foul on Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart (36) du...
Kellan Olson

Phoenix Suns embarrassed on home court by Boston Celtics in 27-point rout

The Phoenix Suns were playing great basketball through a few key injuries this season before back-to-back terrible losses in blowout fashion.
2 days ago
Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) drives between Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) and cent...
Arizona Sports

Phoenix Suns face largest deficit of season in loss to Boston Celtics

The Phoenix Suns dropped their home battle with the Boston Celtics after trailing by 27 points at halftime.
2 days ago
Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns passes the ball against the Boston Celtics during the second ha...
Arizona Sports

Phoenix Suns GM James Jones stresses importance of Celtics matchup

The No. 1 seed in the Western Conference Phoenix Suns takes on the top seed in the east, the Boston Celtics, on Wednesday.
2 days ago
Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul (3) drives as Minnesota Timberwolves guard D'Angelo Russell (0) defen...
Arizona Sports

Report: Chris Paul expects to return as Suns face NBA-best Celtics

Chris Paul has missed 14 games, while Torrey Craig has missed three for the Phoenix Suns, who host the Boston Celtics on Wednesday.
2 days ago
Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) drives against Phoenix Suns forward Josh Okogie (2) during ...
Kellan Olson

Phoenix Suns blitzed by Mavericks in Dallas again

The Phoenix Suns will eventually play a basketball game against the Dallas Mavericks that does not bring up terrible memories for their fans.
4 days ago
Blazers’ Lillard tried getting in Suns C Deandre Ayton’s head for key free throws